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Jim Hensen’s “The Dark Crystal” Essay

With its “animatronics” engineering. Jim Henson’s 1982 movie. The Dark Crystal. in both signifier and subject depicts cardinal elements of David Leeming’s description of the hero myth’s rites of transition in The World of Myth: An Anthology. As in Leeming’s rites of transition. in this movie the protagonist’s heroic experiences lead him to “wholeness” and “full individuation” ( 220 ) . At the formal degree. by hiding puppet strings. supplying marionettes with exceptionally life-like and unstable gestures. and making convincingly critical marionettes. Henson’s detail-rich and realistic animatronics engineering allows his puppet-hero. Jen. to turn both beyond his filmic male parent figure. urSu. every bit good as beyond the restricting puppet strings of the traditional marionette maestro. Thematically. excessively. Jen experiences the rites of “ [ being ] Born when. . . needed” ( 218 ) . of being “call [ erectile dysfunction ] to adventure” ( 219 ) . and of being faced with tests and danger ( 219 ) . that Leeming discusses as doing up the transition into individualization.

As Leeming describes. heroes are born when the demand for them arises ; this normally happens during a dark period in the culture’s history ( 218 ) . In The Dark Crystal. Jen. who belongs to a about nonextant race known as Gelflings. is born after the Crystal is cracked and a sherd of it is lost. As with Leeming’s “dark period. ” the events initiated by the crystal’s shattering grade the terminal of a period of visible radiation ; here the thousand old ages of the green and goodness of the land one time maintained by the Crystal become darkness and ugliness one time the crystal is shattered. This dark period is besides marked by the claiming of the land by the cruel and evil race of Skeksis.

Making this period of the hero’s outgrowth in the movie even darker. the Skeksis. in their effort to avoid fulfilment of the prognostication that a Gelfling would destruct them. get down to kill all of the Gelflings. Ushering in Jen’s place as the hero who is called. the Skeksis kill his household. Sole subsister from his household. Jen is kept safe by a race of soft mystics. known as the urRu. This flight of birth. menace. and protection likewise follows Leeming’s description of the narrative line of the hero myth because. wherein “a farther dimension is added by the menace to the immature hero’s life” ( 218-19 ) .

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Besides like the traditional hero myth. Jenson’s movie traces the experience of the hero’s “call to gamble. ” In this instance. epitomizing the “wise old man” original ( 219 ) Leeming discusses. Jen’s mysterious maestro. urSu. sends Jen to happen the missing crystal sherd and mend the Dark Crystal. As he will inquire throughout the movie. Jen responds to his deceasing master’s assignment by inquiring. “How can I? I’m merely a Gelfling. ” In his anxiousness and near refusal to happen the sherd. Jen represents another component of Leeming’s description of the hero’s experiences: “it [ the quest ] normally begins with a call to escapade. . . . Often the hero refuses the biddings. We all resist extremist alteration. and the hero. . . is no exclusion. ‘Who am I’ to execute such a task” ( 219 ) . As Leeming indicates. this initial refusal of the escapade is meant to demo the hero’s deficiency of wisdom. assurance. or. “individuation” ; the hero is non yet a whole. individuated. wiser and more confident grownup. Jen decides to travel on his quest exterior of the vale of the mystics after his maestro dies.

Additionally. Leeming explains that the hero’s pursuit is marked by many tests and confrontations with evil monsters ( 219 ) . While Jen ne’er really has to contend or destruct any monsters in order to finish his quest–the common outlook for epic behavior–he does suit Leeming’s definition in his regular flights from a scope of menaces. particularly the Garthim. beetle-like animals “programmed” by the Skeksis to seek out and destruct all Gelflings. Whereas Jen does non really face the Garthim. he is frequently face to face with them before he turns to run for his life. Besides. when he does come face to face with the Skeksis. it is non until he is about to destruct them by returning the sherd to its topographic point in the dark crystal. Leeming goes on to explicate that “the monsters … are balanced by beginnings of strength. Heros are frequently guided … by a spirit who takes the signifier of a faery godmother. a wise old adult male. or a wise sap. ” ( 219 ) . Jen begins his journey entirely. but. as the hero myth tradition dictates. he encounters many other existences that help him on his manner.

Aughra. a wise. witch-like adult female who is said to be born from the stones and trees before clip began. in order that they might hold an oculus with which to see the universe. Aughra gives Jen the crystal sherd that he is in hunt of. She besides. before salvaging him from an onslaught by the Garthim. gives him the penetration he needs to recognize how of import the successful completion of his journey is. Finally. Jen is given an extra “source of strength” by another lasting Gelfling named Kira. She is joined by a dog-like animal named Fizgig. his jokes and heroics in the movie could put him in the function that Leeming refers to as “the wise fool” . Kira’s ability to pass on with and have aid from the animate beings in the narrative. her inclination to swear her intuition. and her harmonious relationship with the natural environment. all play a pinnacle function in Jen’s ability to finish his journey.

Ultimately. with these rites of being born in a clip of demand. of being called to gamble. and of sing great tests. every bit good as with the animatronics engineering. Henson’s Jen. like Gepetto’s celebrated marionette. Pinocchio. experiences the procedure of individualization. going both whole and ( about ) entirely human.


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